Snarky Lawyer

The Role of “Outcry Witnesses” in Texas Sex Crimes Prosecutions

February 21st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

Hearsay statements are generally not admissible in criminal trials. Hearsay refers to any out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. For example, if a prosecutor wanted to prove that John committed murder, she could not have Luke testify that “Mark told me that John committed the murder.” Luke’s statement would be […]

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Is Burning Someone on the Leg with a Cigarette Considered “Assault” in Texas?

February 19th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense in Texas. Assault is defined as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another” person. In this context, a “bodily injury” includes any amount of physical pain suffered by the victim. For example, a Dallas appeals court recently upheld an assault conviction that was partly based on evidence […]

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When Are DWI Penalties “Enhanced” Under Texas Law?

February 14th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense, DWI

In a Texas DWI case, prosecutors may seek an “enhanced” sentence against a defendant under certain circumstances. For example, if the defendant has a prior criminal conviction, that could lead to additional jail time if they are subsequently convicted of drunk driving. But such an enhancement is only justified when there is evidence presented related […]

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How Domestic Violence Can Raise Misdemeanor Assault to a Felony

February 12th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can elevate a misdemeanor charge into a felony offense. For example, under Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code, assault is normally prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor. But if the assault is committed against a member of the defendant’s family and involves “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation […]

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Can I Be Ticketed for a Traffic Violation as a Pedestrian?

February 10th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Traffic Offenses

Not all traffic violations involve actions you make while driving a vehicle. Even if you are simply walking down a public street, an officer may stop and ticket you for violating certain traffic laws applicable to pedestrians. And if in the course of this “pedestrian stop,” an officer suspects you may be guilty of some […]

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How You May Face Drug Charges Even if the Drugs Do Not Belong to You

February 6th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Drug Crime

When it comes to drug crimes, law enforcement need not actually find illegal contraband on your person. If the police execute a valid search warrant for your property and locate illegal drugs, particularly in “plain view,” you can still be arrested, tried, and convicted of drug possession. What matters here is not what is found […]

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Does Admitting to a Possible Crime at a Probation Hearing Prevent Me from Arguing Self-Defense at Trial?

February 4th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Criminal Defense

Any criminal charge is a serious matter. But if you are already on probation–or community supervision, as it is known in Texas–for another offense, you are now facing a possible two-front battle. On the one hand, prosecutors can use the new charge as grounds to revoke your probation. On the other hand, you now face […]

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Houston Man Sentenced to 27 Months for Passport Forgery

January 31st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in White Collar, White Collar Crime

White collar crimes include a wide variety of offenses related to forgery and counterfeiting. For example, under federal law, it is a felony to use or attempt to use a forged passport for any purpose. And depending on the defendant’s purpose in using a forged passport, they can face a prison term of up to […]

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What Is the “Rape Shield” Law in Texas?

January 27th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Sex Crime

In a criminal trial, the defendant has the right to introduce evidence that may serve to undermine the state’s case against them. This right is not unlimited, as there are a number of restrictions on the types of evidence that may be admissible at trial. One such restriction that specifically applies to defendants facing sex […]

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How a Misdemeanor Conviction Can Lead to “Forfeiture” of Your Property to the State of Texas

January 24th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Normally, the maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor offense in Texas is one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. But this is only the maximum criminal penalty. Some misdemeanor convictions can also lead to the civil forfeiture of assets that prosecutors believe were proceeds or byproducts of the crime. By law, however, the […]

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